• 27 March 2016

– The Chinese education market is in the middle of an unprecedented boom thanks to the expansion of the country’s middle class and rising disposable incomes. Chinese parents trebled their spending on education between 2002 and 2011, and it is forecast to go on soaring because of the perceived shortcomings of their state schools.

“There is widespread perception that the national school system is struggling to keep pace with China’s economic success. Ambitious parents with significant savings are happy to spend on education” said the British Council in a recent study.

It has also just been announced that according to the 2014/15 QS World University Rankings, four of the world’s top six universities are UK universities, which is increasing Chinese families interest in UK learning. Aggressive marketing by the USA and Australia have seen their countries sit at the top of the countries chosen for Chinese students to go to for secondary and tertiary education and to get English language based learning, leaving the UK in third place. The reason for this position is down to the lack of pro-active recruitment and marketing done by most UK schools in the PRC.

However, English tutoring is becoming a must-have for China’s 500m-strong middle class as proficiency in the language is seen as a necessity in securing a well-paid job. Spending on English classes was forecast to more than double to £5bn by the end of 2015, compared with 2010, and British media companies are scrambling to grab a slice of this huge investment by Chinese households.

These circumstances and the demand for a British education has started top Chinese schools seek investment to come in along with expertise to build British schools in China itself such as the recent news about Wellington College setting up there. Quality senior schools, who with Ministry approval, are also looking into developing partnerships with top British schools to enable the A level curriculum to be taught parallel to the the Chinese one, and having British teachers go out to teach the key subjects. (This topic is covered in another news item here on the Meridian site)